Women's Museum of Ireland


  • 23 June '19

    Submitting to the National Library of Ireland website archive


    The National Library of Ireland archives websites, maybe you have one they might like?

    A few months ago a small project arrived on my desk. It was looking after a website (womenforeurope.ie) for a campaign called Women for Europe, which called for a Yes vote in the second Lisbon Treaty in 2009 – nearly ten years ago now. Two women in that organisation went on to found Women for Election, which is where I worked. Women for Europe ran a series of events in the run up to the second vote. They contributed at many other meetings.

    In light of Brexit, it is imperative we preserve details of Ireland’s evolving, and mostly engaged, relationship with the European Union. Women for Europe can also serve as a model for future campaigns. Female activism rarely exists in a vacuum and we owe it to present and future generations to acknowledge past work.

    However, sometimes it can be hard to find well-trodden paths. Details of visible-at-the-time campaigns and organisations can fade away thanks to web domain renewal emails going to barely tended email addresses.

    I emailed Alan Kinsella of the fabulous website Irish Election Literature (https://irishelectionliterature.com/) and asked for his advice on preserving the Women for Europe site’s content. He recommended I contact the National Library of Ireland to add the site to their growing web archive.

    The National Library of Ireland is creating an Irish web archive so that future generations and researhers won’t lose information to the ether that can be the internet. Here is some more from the National Library of Ireland website:

    “Information published on the web is vulnerable to loss or change and in any given year over 80% of websites will be lost or changed. The NLI recognises the intrinsic cultural value of such information and the need to preserve this material for current and future generations. It is also an opportunity to work with Born digital collections and to enable users to work with the NLI collections, in new and innovative ways. Web archiving is an activity whereby a version of a web site at a particular point in time is collected and preserved for future use. This version is fully functioning and can be navigated like a live website. Sites are collected by a ‘web crawler’ which is an automated piece of software designed to capture websites at a particular point in time, and these archived sites are then preserved and made available for research, sometimes long after the original site has disappeared.”

    For more information contact webarchives@nli.ie

    Jeanne Sutton, co-director and co-founder of the Women’s Museum of Ireland